Certified Black Belt, but unsuccessful

The job market is going at full speed again. The current demand for Lean experts, Black Belts, Agile coaches and all kinds of other improvement experts is high. The temptation is to follow a Lean training quickly and apply for one of those attractive vacancies after completion. After all, the expectation is
that you will be hired quickly and receive a corresponding salary. But how big is the chance that you will be successful in the long term? In this blog I will talk about 3 points of interest when you choose a Lean career.


One of the challenges for large companies is to continuously and permanently improve business processes from start to finish. After all, you are dealing with a diversity of managers, transfer moments and systems. To take on these kinds of big challenges a company can choose to, for example, adopt a certified Black Belt. In practice, I often encounter these certified Black Belts, but despite their knowledge they are not always able to achieve lasting breakthroughs. They have a suitcase full of Lean tools and make fantastic reports. They show where the pain is and then install beautiful procedures with accompanying instructions and dashboards. But do you realize the intended change by installing all kinds of tools and techniques?


If you start an improvement project you would expect employees to be happy about improvements. We find it odd that proposed changes for improvement meet with resistance. After all, we want to improve the situation? But lasting improvements call for new behavior and letting go of the old behavior. If you want to improve business processes in an integrated way, you are certain to encounter many different behavioral patterns that are often quite entrenched. How this is handled differs per company and per person. By carrying out improvement projects during your training you experience resistance. By keeping your project small in the beginning, you prevent yourself from walking into 7 locks at the same time. And an experienced coach can help you overcome (personal) challenges during your project. Learning in practice gives a lot of added value!


Sustainable Lean calls for building a relationship of trust with the people around you. You can make the most beautiful plans, have a scientific approach and make all kinds of assumptions about what kind of risks you are going to encounter on your path towards the goal. But in certain cases you just have to enter into the personal confrontation and then gain the trust of others. Sometimes people just want to know who you are and what you stand for. Because why would people take steps outside their comfort zone if they do not know who you are? To hire a certified Black Belt is not equivalent to success. But to use a certified Black Belt that takes other people step-by-step in a change process, such a person gives a greater chance of achieving lasting value. If you plan to become a Lean expert, do this step by step. Start with the permanent solution of a relatively small problem and only continue if you are successful in practice. This way you create trust, with others and with yourself.

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